Entrance test mandatory for admission to all central universities from 2022-23

All central universities will have to admit students to undergraduate courses based on the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) and not Class 12 marks, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said Monday. This rule will come into force from the upcoming academic year (2022-23).

UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said it will be mandatory for the 45 central universities to adopt CUET for admission to their undergraduate courses. However, for postgraduate admissions, universities will have the flexibility to use CUET scores as of now.
The National Test Agency (NTA) will conduct the Common University Entrance Test for admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the first week of July.
Jagadesh Kumar said the decision will provide equal opportunities to students from the Northeast and rural India. “In addition to this, it will help parents of poor students as they will not have to pay for appearing for several entrance exams,” Kumar said in an online interaction with mediapersons.
However, he said that some skill-based courses will have practical components. The course for CUET will be basic concepts from the Class 12 CBSE syllabus. The guidelines for the exam will be shared with universities, he said.
CUET, a computerised test, will be conducted in 13 languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
UGC, however, has exempted international students from CUET. For post-graduate programmes, some varsities have joined the initiative, Kumar said, adding that he hoped that all universities will ultimately make use of the test.
Reservations, if any, for local or internal students, may continue if the universities choose to, Kumar said.
“The only difference is that these students will also have to come through CUET, like students to be admitted to general seats. The reservation policies and ordinances of the universities will remain unchanged,” Kumar said.
For Ph.D. courses, he said, National Entrance Test (NET) scores can be used by universities. However, those varsities that do not have NET can decide to either conduct their own entrance exam or hold interviews.
For skill-based and professional UG courses like theatre and music, universities will have to hold practical exams and include them as a part of the student’s final CUET score.
Explaining the structure of the exam, Kumar said it will be three-and-a-half hours long, and will be conducted in two phases. Candidates will be given multiple choices in every section to offer greater flexibility.
“All the questions in the entrance paper will be from Class 12 CBSE textbooks so students need to focus on the NCERT syllabus. Though there are different ways in which different boards explain similar concepts, therefore students will be given a choice on what they want,” Kumar said.
In Section 1, there will be 13 language subjects from which students can appear for any one language. In other sections, there will be 27 domain-specific subjects from which students can choose up to six. These include agriculture, anthropology, accounting, book-keeping, performing arts and Sanskrit, among others.
Model Public Universities
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, inter-alia, envisions setting up of Model Public Universities for holistic and multidisciplinary education, at par with IITs, IIMs, etc, called MERUs (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities), which will aim to attain the highest global standards in quality education. NEP further states that all programmes, courses, curricula, and pedagogy across subjects, including those in-class, online, and in ODL modes as well as student support, will aim at achieving global standards of quality, minister of state for education, Subhas Sarkar informed the Lok Sabha in  a written reply.
The NEP-2020 also envisions setting up of a Higher Education Commission of India as an umbrella body with four independent verticals to perform distinct functions of regulation, accreditation, funding, and academic standard setting. Accordingly, the ministry is in the process of drafting a Higher Education Commission of India Bill, the minister stated.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has informed that it has notified the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020 on 4 September 2020 and further amendment on 1 July 2021. These regulations lay down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degrees through Open and Distance Learning mode and online mode.
The UGC has further informed that in view of the recommendation of National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035 and to further promote Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and online education, the UGC has constituted an Expert Committee to review existing ODL and Online regulatory framework while ensuring quality, driven by simplified recognition system and processes, he added.